TEAMtalks Premier League Picks

Last updated : 24 September 2011 By Team Talk

On Saturday evenings throughout the 2011/12 season, TEAMtalk's writers will present their Premier League Picks - the five special moments, star performers, stunning matches or shocking incidents from the day's action which we expect to dominate the headlines.

We'll be watching all the action unfold on the live TV feeds which are piped into TEAMtalk Towers from grounds up and down the country.

Once you've read through our choices, let us know your opinions by adding a Comment below.

Super Mario

We've been waiting to see exactly why Roberto Mancini splashed out ?24million to prise hothead striker Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan - but the evidence was certainly there at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

David Moyes' Everton were proving a tough nut to crack and considering their recent record against Man City, were fancying their chances of another win over the big-spending opponents as the game entered the last half-hour.

But Balotelli came off the bench and produced an eye-catching display which he capped with the opening goal, albeit via a slight deflection off the unlucky Phil Jagielka.

The Italian appears to now be ahead of former talisman Carlos Tevez in the striker pecking order - and rewarded Mancini's faith in him by running to the touchline for a hug with the City gaffer.

Balotelli has bags of talent and worryingly for City's title rivals, could finally be starting to grow up. Simon Wilkes

Torres torment

Fernando Torres found the net for the second week running after scoring the opener in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Swansea. The hitman looks to be finding his form again but unfortunately for the striker, he will now miss the next three matches after seeing red for a two-footed tackle on Swansea's Mark Gower. The challenge didn't look malicious but you can't go in two-footed and referee Mike Dean had no option but to show the striker a straight red card. Just when Torres wants more time on the pitch, he'll have to miss out. Sam Nightingale

Suarez - the good and the bad

Luis Suarez fired in a superb goal for Liverpool in their 2-1 win over Wolves at Anfield. The Reds ace blasted the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle but Liverpool put themselves under pressure by conceding a goal early in the second half.

While Suarez starred on the pitch, the striker's reaction to being subbed on 81 minutes was far less impressive. Steven Gerrard came on for him and the Uruguayan shaked Kenny Dalglish's hand before kicking a water bottle and looking seriously miffed on the bench. Why? Suarez had done his job and starred for the Reds. There was no need to react like that, which will only turn attention away from his performance on the pitch. SN

Rockin' Robin is a role model

Two very different criticisms have dogged Robin van Persie throughout his career. The first suggests that he is a self-centred brat, too quick-tempered to be a responsible team-mate and usually at the centre of dressing-room disagreements. The second says he is 'made of glass', too injury-prone and unreliable.

Having recently turned 28, inherited the Arsenal captaincy in his eighth season at the club and now with 100 Gunners goals to his name, van Persie is doing his very best to make those criticisms look exaggerated.

Bolton tried their best to get a rise out of the deadly Dutchman on Saturday, with five Trotters players surrounding him in the second half. Darren Pratley even appeared to have him by the throat. But van Persie stood his ground, kept his hands down by his side and controlled his frustration. He then finished the Trotters off by converting Theo Walcott's cross to net his milestone goal.

Arsenal will be looking to negotiate new contracts with key players in the coming months and van Persie's deal is surely the most important of all. He may be a spiky character, but that's not a bad quality in a skipper. He may suffer with knocks more than most, but that's not surprising for a player with such superb close control and balance. The Gunners have a long way to go to get back to their very best (next Sunday's derby at Tottenham will be a much sterner test) but with van Persie leading from the front, they can claim to be on the right path again. Jon Holmes


Demba Ba was handed a rare start on Saturday and he repaid Newcastle boss Alan Pardew with a superb hat-trick. His first was a classy turn and shot, his second a simple six-yard header and his third a looping header which dropped over everyone and in at the far post.

His involvement bar the goals was minimal, but he was the man in the right place at the right time as Blackburn were brushed aside.

Ba almost single handedly kept West Ham up last season and he could well be the man to plug the gap left by Andy Carroll. With all the millions spent in the transfer window, free-transfer signing Ba might just prove to be the Ba-rgain on the season! Matty Briggs

De Gea gets into gear

David de Gea has come in for some heavy criticism this season, but he deserves a pat on the back for helping earn the champions a point at Stoke.

The slightly-built Spaniard made two fabulous first-half saves to deny Andy Wilkinson and Jon Walters. First he tipped Wilkinson's thunderbolt on to the bar and then dived full length to deny Walters in what could prove to be a valuable point at the end of the season.

Without Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez - after he was injured early on - Manchester United laboured and Nani's brilliant strike was cancelled out by Peter Crouch , but they dug in for a point and De Gea was the main reason why.

He certainly doesn't have the commanding presence of a Edwin van der Sar or a Peter Schmeichel, but his shot stopping was brilliant and his confidence will have been boosted no end. MB

Source: Team Talk

Source: Team Talk